Major hurdle cleared for organic solar cells

August 17, 2010

Solar energy is an environmentally-friendly way of producing electricity and is considered to be one of the most appealing options for the future.

The basis for is absorbing light and then effectively disassociating electrical charges. As Yana Vaynzof, a University of Cambridge researcher, reports in the American Institute of Physics' , conjugated polymers are excellent materials for such a system, thanks to their and conduction properties. Unfortunately, poor charge disassociation in these materials tends to inhibit their performance. Photo-induced charges remain closely bound and recombine before they can be collected for electricity.

With a goal of working around this, Vaynzof and colleagues studied the charge disassociation at an interface between an , in which the light is absorbed, and an inorganic oxide layer.

"In particular, we discovered that modifying the interface with a self-assembled monolayer of molecules results in an increase of charge disassociation efficiency to nearly 100 percent," says Vaynzof. "Our measurements revealed that the molecular modification alters the energetic landscape of the interface so that the light absorbed in its vicinity is disassociated into charges that are then swept far from each other -- preventing them from recombination, much like two balls rolling away from each other on opposite sides of a hill."

This has significant implications for the organic solar cell industry because it offers an interesting solution to one of the field's most significant problems.

Explore further: Discovery brings organic solar cells a step closer

More information: doi:10.1063/1.3464973

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5 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2010
What is going to keep this from getting into solar panel immediately? All the articles which say they've improved solar cell efficiency always add, "...but much more research is necessary...". Why if it works get it into production. I want affordable and efficient solar panels on my house.
not rated yet Aug 17, 2010
Here is the full text of the paper:

It looks like overall efficiency is still just 9%, that
is why these type of solar cell is not going to production any time soon. However, it is way better than 3% it was before the treatment. I think it is a new record for polymer based solar cell.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 17, 2010
Organic cells still are not physically robust enough for practical use. They decompose in sunlight, which defeats the purpose of a solar panel. lol. They are also harmed by heat and cold, another bummer for a solar panel. Combine those factors with the small yield and it becomes prohibitively expensive to use OPVC right now, even if you get past the other half dozen hurdles that I didn't mention.

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